HRISTE QUI LUX ES ET DIES (Christ, who art the light and day) is based on the ancient Compline Hymn for Lent, likely dating back to the Fourth Century. Although it was not retained in the Roman Breviary, its continued pervasive use is perhaps attributed to its antiquity, exquisite poetry, and simple beauty, extolling Christ as the World’s Light. Furthermore, its use often extends beyond Lent with its universal theme of light.
Please see an excellent article on this ancient Compline Hymn written by Henri Adam de Villiers on the New Liturgical Movement site. The chant notation is also provided in this article. This choral setting utilizes two major themes: the opening choral statement and the ancient chant melody, both in naturally progressing keys. The opening theme provides an axis of symmetry, setting verses one, four, and seven, while the chant is the basis of verses two, three, five and six. The Amen recapitulates the chant theme inside a variation of the opening exposition. As such, the Light of Christ is proclaimed both deep within the soul and cried aloud for all.
While I’m at it, here’s a BONUS Free Download: PDF • “Twelve Communion Propers for Lent” (for Schola, Organ, SATB) HIS SETTING WAS COMMISSIONED and premiered by the The Seraphim Singers, Jennifer Lester, Director. The Seraphim Singers are enormous advocates of new music. Jennifer Lester’s programming is astonishingly vast, from Gregorian Chant and Renaissance Polyphony to Twenty-first Century works. Yet, her programming flows with astonishing unity and beauty. The Seraphim Singers present this eclectic repertoire with great artistry and ease.
Christ, who art the light and day,
You drive away the darkness of night,
You are called the light of light,
For you proclaim the blessed light.
We beseech you, Holy Lord,
Protect us this night.
Let us take our rest in you;
Grant us a tranquil night.
Let our sleep be free from care;
Let not the enemy snatch us away,
Nor flesh conspire within him,
And make us guilty in your sight.
Though our eyes be filled with sleep,
Keep our hearts forever awake to you.
May your right hand protect
Your willing servants.
You who are our shield, behold;
Restrain those that lie in wait.
And guide your servants whom
You have ransomed with your blood.
Remember us, O Lord,
Who bear the burden of this mortal form;
You who are the defender of the soul,
Be near us, O Lord.
Glory be to God the Father,
And to his only Son,
With the Spirit, Comforter,
Both now and evermore. Amen.